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MANAGER: All of the games are coming thick and fast

Paul Simpson ahead of the Central League Cup meeting with Morecambe

14 April 2022

United face Morecambe this afternoon in the final group game of this season’s Central League Cup competition with Preston North End next in line for the victors.

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However, should the teams draw, it will be Lincoln City who progress to the next stage, so it’s a game that has quite a lot hanging on it.

Manager Paul Simpson said: “The unfortunate side of our fixture schedule is that we have this game against Morecambe, but it has to be played on Thursday.

“We’re travelling to Walsall this afternoon to help us to avoid any delays with the Easter traffic, and it would have been a really good opportunity to get people involved again.

“We’ve been talking to Morecambe for months, certainly as long as I’ve been here, to get a date, and we haven’t had a response.

“We’ve now been told by the league that we have to play it, which isn’t ideal for us, but that’s the rule, so we have to get on with it.

“Unfortunately it means we do miss out on the opportunity to get some more minutes for some players.”

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And on the potential outcomes of today’s fixture, he added: “The way I’ve heard it is that if we win we’re through to a semi-final against Preston, which may even have to be played next week.

“All of the games are coming thick and fast, so we’ll see what happens. I’ve got to say, my focus is on Walsall and if we go and do it properly we can have the whole relegation threat done and dusted because we’ve made ourselves definitely safe.

“That’s got to be our focus. The players have had their training and rest days this week and I’m hoping we go into the Friday game knowing the real importance of it, for many reasons.

“The fact we weren’t very good in our last game is an even bigger reason to go and put a marker down and show that was a bit of a one-off from my time at the club.”

A good chance to get pitch time came at Carrington on Monday, with a reserve game against Stockport that went the way of the hosts.

“It was good to get the game but I’m not as pleased with the performance,” he commented. “A lot of players got 90 minutes they needed because we do have a group who haven’t had as many minutes as they would have liked.

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“I think it’s important to stay match ready, and that was the thinking behind it. Hopefully we’ll all benefit from that as the next few weeks go on.

“There’s every chance we’re going to need them, whether it’s on Friday or Monday, or the following Saturday.

“It’s important that everybody stays at match fitness levels because there’s only so much you can do in training.

“Due to the way the games have been coming thick and fast recently it’s meant that training days have been few and far between, and even when you try to top them up you’ve got one eye on the fact they might be involved in the next game.

“That makes it quite difficult, but the game was put in and there were a number of pros who got their 90 minutes out of it. As I say, hopefully they’ll benefit when they’re needed.”

“Obviously from playing it you want people knocking at your door,” he continued. “That’s the idea, I want players to go out there and give a level of performance that tells me they deserve to be in the team.

“There may be other games we organise between now and the end of the season, if we can fit it in. Like I say, I’ve got to be honest, they didn’t achieve all the things I wanted on Monday, which was really disappointing, but that’s the nature of that game.

“There wasn’t a lot I could take from it that makes me say there’s going to be loads of changes going into this weekend’s game. One thing I would say is we’ve got a game on Friday then one soon after on Monday, and we are going to need everybody available.”

Click HERE to watch an interview with Paul Simpson on iFollow United now.

Click HERE to see a clip from this interview on our YouTube channel. Follow the same link for more FREE content right from the heart of the club.

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